Neem oil has become an essential tool for pest management for houseplant parents. First, however, you need to understand how it works.
What is neem oil?
Neem is a naturally occurring pesticide that comes from the seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica). Neem trees are native to tropical forests in Burma, India, and Sri Lanka. Neem products usually have one of two active ingredients. Azadirachtin is derived from neem seed oil and is most responsible for killing and repelling insects. After the Azadirachtin is extracted from neem oil, the remaining is clarified hydrophobic neem oil.
How To Use Neem Oil on Houseplants:
Mix the 1 1/2 teaspoons neem oil concentrate with mild liquid soap and 1-liter tepid water.
Put all of the ingredients into a spray bottle, and shake it up well.
Test it on a leaf or two before using it on the whole plant to ensure there's no damage.
Douse the plant with your neem oil spray, getting both the top and bottom of the leaves and every nook and cranny.
Keep the plant out of direct sunlight until the leaves are dry.
Continue to use it every few weeks until you no longer see any signs of the bugs.
How Often Should I Use Neem Oil?
When you have a pest or fungus to get rid of, you will likely need a few repeat treatments to ensure the infestation doesn't return. You'll want to reapply every 7-10 days for severe cases. When you're using it purely for preventative measures, you can use it every two weeks or so. Always reach the suggested use on the bottle as well.
If you're taking care of your houseplants with proper lighting, watering, healthy soil and fertilizing, and well-draining soil, you should be in good shape. However, most people will encounter spider mites or aphids sneak on your plant parent's journey. Therefore, it's always a good idea to have neem oil on hand.